My Frantic World

Friday, April 30, 2010


I've just received the long overdue proof copy of my novel Frantic, which has just been republished with a new cover by Celia Birtwell (front and back cover pictured).

The excuse for the book's long delay? According to its publisher Eiworth Publishing, it was held up due to the 'volcano ash cloud'.

Frantic, which will be out in three weeks time is set in London and San Francisco during the early 70's.

It's technically a Young Adult novel. I.e. it's aimed at late teens upwards, but adults who were young during the early 70s and have read it, have told me they appreciate it.

On a historical note: when The Who's Pete Townshend was moonlighting at Faber & Faber as a literary editor and read the first draft, he told me he recognised everybody in it! I took his editorial Comment on board and promptly disguised the characters.

I thought I had done this successfully until Jeff Dexter, who was THE disc jockey and Master of Ceremonies at clubs like the Roundhouse's Implosion during the late 60s and early 70s spotted himself in the book. Eeeek!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Writers' Guild of Great Britain's new Book Co-Op

I attended the launch of the The Writers' Guild of Great Britain's book co-op launch today. Although it's intended to be independent of the Guild, members of the Co-op must first be Guild members.

The founding directors of the Guild's Book Committee were all out in force, namely: the lawyer Robert Taylor, who is Chair of the Guild's Book Committee, the crime writer Robert Adams, proprietor of Bitterne Books, the Guild's General Secretary, Bernie Corbett and the writer Nicholas Yapp: his recently published book, The Write Stuff: A History of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain 1959-2009 was selling like hotcakes to the assembled loyal writers.

The panel said the book co-op's basic aim is to 'help promote members' self-published books, sharing experise and resources, providing links with specialists such as printers and designers, developing a Guild 'imprint' to publish members' work, helping members to publish and sell e-books.' All very useful, especially  if one is unable to get one's masterpeice traditionally published.

In other words, the writers will help each other. During the lunch afterwards, this co-op philosophy already seemed to be blossoming. I hooked up with an ArtZone Co-operative representative, who promptly offered to give me book designing lessons; and also the animator and writer Stan Hayward, the creator of Henry's Cat, who volunteered to show me how to to upload books onto the net, as well as advising me on how to have control over a book's layout as a whole. In exchange, I offered to give him on line book promotional tips. I know who got the better barter.

As long as the Guild's new Book Co-op doesn't go the same aborted route as the late lamented Citron co-op (which was supported by writers like Fay Weldon and Martin Amis), this new project should be a necessity for professional writers in today's tech publishing world.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Austin de Lone Gives Good Benefit

(A 'Government' Health warning: this blog entry should only interest people domiciled in Marin County who are interested in nepotism, rock music benefits, charity walks and Prader-Willi. If your eyes aren't glazing over, continue).

Talk about synchronisation: this afternoon Austin de Lone, his wife Lesley and their daughter, my chanteuse niece Caroline will be running not in the London Marathon today but in Mill Valley, Northern California.

They will all be participating in the Prader-Willi California Foundation's 10th Annual Walking shindig at Cesar Chavez Park in the Berkeley Marina. The de Lones (pictured) will not only be power walking to help raise dough for the Richard de Lone Special Housing Project Team, but will also be contributing to the music which should inspire everyone to dance as well as run. (Also, Marin county residents: explore the Richard link on the 2010 Marin Human Race site for that event on May 8th).

If all that blatant plugging ain't enough, Austin de Lone will bring his new project, 4 A.D. to the Masonic Hall in Mill Valley to kick off the In The Woods Productions benefit series on May 1st.

Austin, who has played with every legendary musician imaginable, has roped in some of his talented musician friends to participate in a benefit project for his son Richard, namely: Aram Danesh, (Carlos Santana, Ravi Coltrane, Michael Franti); Paul Revelli (Lou Ann Barton, Carlene Carter, Jimmie Vaughan, Boz Scaggs, Charlie Musselwhite), and Eric McCann (Freaky Executives, Howard Tate, Bonnie Raitt, Clarence Clemons).

Austin used to host the Open Mic evening at the late Sweetwater in Mill Valley. It was an intimate venue for all the industry's musicians and I used to love gawping at my old teen idols jamming there. As a lot of the Sixties' dinosaur rock stars now live in Mill Valley, they will be grateful that they are going to have their regular musical meeting place once more.

The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir, a longtime Mill Valley resident recently performed in the Masonic hall with bandmate Phil Lesh while they were rehearsing for their Further debut tour. And Weir has even now come in with his technicians to help design a new sound system for the hall.

When the Sweetwater closed, the nightlife in downtown Mill Valley was dead as a dodo, but to but due to the resurrection of the Masonic, the music scene there is already resurrecting.